30 years since the Fall of Sokhumi
On 27 September, 30 years passed since Sokhumi fell. The conflict in Abkhazia started on 14 August and lasted for 13 months and 13 days, ending on 27 September 1993, with the fall of Sokhumi. As a result of the war, more than 10000 people died, and around 300000 became Internally Displaced Persons and still are not allowed to return to their own houses. 30 years after Sokhumi fell, Russia still occupies Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region, both internationally recognized as Georgian territories. Russia continues the so-called “Borderisation” process, putting up physical borders on the occupation lines and dividing local communities. The human rights situation in occupied territories is dire.
The National Bank has changed the procedure for the execution of sanctions because of Partskhaladze
On September 19, the Acting President of the National Bank, Natia Turnava, issued an exceptional order and changed the procedure for implementing the sanctions regime for Georgian banks. According to the National Bank, international sanctions will apply to Georgian citizens only if the Georgian court issues a guilty verdict. The order has already been published.
The National Bank states that “Georgia will never become a place to evade sanctions”, however, it also notes that the case of Otar Partskhaladze is the “first precedent” for the imposition of sanctions on a Georgian citizen.
This decision of the National Bank was preceded by the statements of the chairman of the Georgian Dream, Irakli Kobakhidze, according to which the freezing of Otar Partskhaladze’s bank accounts was contrary to the Constitution of Georgia and the European Convention on Human Rights. According to his assertion, the principle of presumption of innocence was also violated.
The State Department of the United States of America imposed sanctions on Otar Partskhaladze, the former chief prosecutor of Georgia, on September 14. According to the State Department, “Partskhaladze has fully accepted Russian identity and regularly travels to Russia. Onishchenko and the FSB used the influence of Partskhaladze on Georgian society and politics for the benefit of Russia. According to reports, Partskhaladze personally benefited from his connection with the FSB.”
After the mentioned decision, 3 deputies of Natia Turnava resigned. Archil Mestvirishvili, Papuna Lezhava and Nikoloz Gagua left their positions.
In an interview with the TV company “Imedi”, Acting President of the National Bank of Georgia, Natia Turnava, accused President Salome Zurabishvili of “pressure” on the board of the National Bank and personally on her.
Turnava said that she made a decision consistent with the Georgian constitution and that the citizens of Georgia will be more protected from now on, “even under the influence of international sanctions regimes”.
In response to Salome Zurabishvili’s criticism that Turnava did not live up to expectations, the President said that “the strongest measure” is that the public’s hopes for “price stability and financial stability” are successful.
The US State Department said it regretted the “decision of the National Bank of Georgia” and added that individuals and legal entities conducting transactions with Partskhaladze or other individuals sanctioned by the US under Russia-related sanctions put themselves at risk of sanctions.
Irakli Edzgveradze, an opposition member of the Tbilisi City Council, was beaten
On September 22, Irakli Edzgveradze, a member of the Tbilisi City Council from the National Movement, was physically assaulted at his home in Tbilisi.
As Edzgveradze said, those people who attacked him were supporters of Irakli Zarnadze, the majority deputy of Gldani in the Tbilisi City Council. According to him, about 30 people were at his house. Edzgveradze was taken to the clinic.
The attack on Edzgveradze took place after the “Georgian Dream” deputy Kote Zarnadze and the “National Movement” deputy confronted each other at the city council meeting, which turned into a fight.
The police arrested Nika Melia, a member of the United National Movement, during the confrontation in Gldani. Melia and other members of the party came to support their fellow party member, Irakli Edzgveradze after the member of the Tbilisi City Council was beaten at his home.
Before his arrest, Melia stated that the deputy of the Sakrebulo was physically assaulted because he confronted Kaladze’s friend, Deputy Kote Zarnadze, at the meeting.
On September 23, at a joint briefing in the Sakrebulo, the opposition deputies of the Sakrebulo demanded the arrest of the participants and organizers of the attack on their colleague and the release of other oppositionists – Nika Melia, Bacho Dolidze and Zviad Kuprava.
On September 23, the Ministry of Internal Affairs announced that six persons were arrested. The law enforcement agency accuses them of group violence against the deputy of the Sakrebulo, Irakli Edzgveradze
Georgian State Security Service claims specific group is planning civil unrest to violently overthrow the government
The Georgian State Security Service (SSG) has claimed that a specific group operating inside and outside Georgia is planning to organise civil unrest and destabilize the country in
October-December 2023, with the ultimate goal of violently overthrowing the government.
The SSG alleges that the group is led by Giorgi Lortkifanidze, the deputy head of Ukraine’s military intelligence and a former deputy minister of internal affairs in Georgia. Lortkifanidze is said to be working with other Georgian-born individuals in Ukraine, including former presidential bodyguard Mikheil Baturin and Mamuka Mamulashvili, the commander of the “Georgian Legion” fighting in Ukraine.
The SSG believes that the group is planning to use the October-December period to implement its plans, as this is when the European Commission is expected to publish its interim report and the EU’s final report on Georgia’s application for EU membership. The SSG also claims that the group is considering using a scenario similar to the “Euromaidan” protests in Ukraine in 2014.
The SSG alleges that the group plans to use a large group of Georgian-born fighters who are currently fighting in Ukraine, as well as Georgian youth who have been trained near the Polish-Ukrainian border.
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has denied the SSG’s claims, saying that Ukraine is not involved in any plans to destabilize Georgia.
The Georgian opposition has also dismissed the SSG’s claims, saying that they are an attempt to discredit the opposition and silence dissent.
The Chairman of the “United National Movement”, Levan Khabeishvili, said that Russian spies were put into action to save “Private” Partskhaladze and confirmed that the state security service is also under the influence of Partskhaladze.
Davit Usupashvili, one of the leaders of the “Lelo Georgia” party, noted that “the government has made a habit of announcing statements in the fall and spring, that they know for sure that someone is going to stage a coup d’état, that someone will attack them with weapons